How to Travel in Style...For Free
Next time you book a hotel room, how would you like to stay in the presidential suite? Or drive that sleek convertible down the coast with the sun smiling down at you?
And of course, how would you like it all for the cost of the most basic economy option? All you have to do is ask. (See also: Negotiate All Your Travel: The Ultimate Guide)
Free Car Rental Upgrades
When you are renting a car, and they ask you if you want to pay an extra $20/day for the upgraded fancier version, say no. Then turn around and ask if they have any free upgrades available. Not only will they take the request in stride, but oftentimes they'll actually produce some amazing results.
I recently reserved the smallest, cheapest car I could find. When I was at the counter, I did exactly what I outlined above. Without batting an eyelash, the woman checked to see what they have in stock, and for the same price as my cheap crappy compact car, she gave me a beautiful convertible Solara, with free gas to boot.
The secret: Car rental agencies have a certain number of free upgrades available to give to customers…who ask. They won't advertise this little secret (because everybody will ask — duh!), but trust me — it works.
Free Hotel Upgrades
The premise above for car rental upgrades also applies to hotel upgrades. All you have to do is ask if they have any free upgrades available. At worst they will snigger and say no. Oops — nothing except possibly a little blush on your cheeks to show for it. At best, you will be relaxing in your king-sized hot tub in your full suite upgrade…for free.
If you are checking in (especially later in the day), the hotel already has an idea of how many suites are booked. Larger suites are usually pre-booked in advance, so if the room is available, they may well upgrade you. It shows well for the hotel (hey, if you got a free upgrade, you'd be talking the hotel up too!), and it doesn't reflect any additional cost to them. They may say that you can't have access to the mini-bar, or that the fruit bowl won't be forthcoming, but since it's a gratis upgrade, I don't tend to complain.
First Class Airline Upgrades
Heck, it even works with airline seats. Sidle up to the boarding gate agent when the time is right (not when the flight is boarding, please!), and after simply asking, you too may be relaxing with three times the leg room of economy class…for free. I can attest to this too — I've successfully been upgraded before.
So now that you are flying, driving, and sleeping in style, may your next trip be an epic one. Ask, and you just may receive.